Maritz To Run New Big Data Spinoff For EMC

Paul Maritz

VMware Tuesday confirmed earlier reports that it will roll over its non-core technology for building platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings to a new virtual organization where it will be combined with EMC big data technology and called the Pivotal Initiative.

The move will result in a separate organization focused on developing the infrastructure for transforming applications built on and using cloud, mobility and big data technology while allowing VMware to focus on continuing to develop the software-defined data center, according to a VMware blog post by Terry Anderson, VMware's vice president of global corporate communications.

As was initially reported last week, VMware plans to move its vFabric group, including its GemStone and SpringSource teams, along with its Cloud Foundry and Cetas teams and related technology, to the Pivotal Initiative where it will be joined with EMC's Greenplum and Pivotal Labs organizations.

[Related: VMware Blockbuster: Maritz Out As CEO After Four-Year Tenure ]

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The Pivotal Initiative, which will include 600 VMware and 800 EMC employees, will be under the direction of EMC Chief Strategy Officer Paul Maritz. Maritz was CEO of VMware until his sudden departure in July, when he moved to storage kingpin EMC where he was said to be involved in a new initiative.

Speculation about a possible PaaS spinoff by VMware was first raised in July when VMware denied plans to spin off Cloud Foundry into a separate business. However, speculation at the time by VMware partners was that the plan was put on hold due to EMC's replacing of CEO Maritz with Pat Gelsinger.

VMware, which in April of 2011 launched Cloud Foundry, has been in the process of turning Cloud Foundry into an open source project that can be used by developers to build applications that can work across different clouds to allow choice and prevent vendor lock-in.

The Pivotal Initiative also includes the Spring Framework, an enterprise Java programming model that VMware picked up in its August 2009 acquisition of SpringSource.

It also includes GemStone, an in-memory database based on VMware's 2010 acquisition of GemStone Systems.

Also from the VMware side comes Cetas, a developer of big data analytics technology that VMware acquired in April.

NEXT: EMC's Contribution To The Pivotal Initiative, And What It Means

On the EMC side is Greenplum, a developer of large-scale data warehousing and analytics technology, which EMC acquired in 2010.

Also included is Pivotal Labs, a developer of technology allowing multiple developers to collaborate from remote locations to accelerate the development process. Pivotal Labs, acquired by EMC in March, also develops software for enterprise, mobile and Web businesses.

Jamie Shepard, executive vice president of technology solutions at ICI, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and long-time partner of both EMC and VMware, called the Pivotal Initiative "awesome" in that it brings together many of the kinds of initiatives that ICI is already taking but in a way that takes out a lot of the manual operations.

Shepard said ICI currently had to use multiple tools, including eDiscovery technology from Kazeon, acquired in 2009 by EMC, along with data governance and policy technology from Varonis, analytics technology from EMC Greenplum, Hadoop big data tools, and VMware virtualization technology to help customers who are virtualizing their big data or business analytics environments to ensure they have policies in place to make certain their data is in compliance with required regulations.

"For guys like me, to do this, we have to put all the tools together ourselves," he said. "Now the Pivotal Initiative puts it all together for us. We're lucky in that we have a head start. We've been talking about this for years."

The Pivotal Initiative seems to have three primary components, including IT operational analytics, cloud analytics and Hadoop big data analytics, Shepard said.

"They're going to bring this all together in virtualized environments with Greenplum on the backend," he said. "It will also probably expand to EMC's Atmos [cloud storage solution]."

VMware's Anderson wrote in her blog post that the Pivotal Initiative will make possible a new generation of mobile and data-centric applications that can exploit future data centers.

"The new organization will accelerate existing efforts in this area by the two companies, creating a primary, unified and focused endeavor around a common mission, roadmap and strategy," she wrote.

Anderson said VMware and EMC do not expect the formation of the Pivotal Initiative to impact existing customer agreements or support, and that customers and partners can continue to buy products and services as they normally would while the initiative is being developed.

Spokespeople of both EMC and VMware declined to respond to requests for further information, saying the VMware blog post was all the information available for now.